Insider analysis: Braylon Edwards

Scout.com NFL analyst Aaron Wilson, an AFC North expert who as publisher of RavensInsider.com watched Braylon Edwards from the start of his career as he grew into a Pro Bowler, says the 49ers are getting a mixed bag with the mercurial WR. Wilson shares some of his inside knowledge with NinersDigest, saying Edwards is "extremely talented," but also "a flaky guy" and "huge diva," among other things.

Aaron Wilson, Scout.com NFL analyst and publisher of RavensInsider.com: Braylon Edwards is an extremely talented wide receiver with the ability to stretch the field and make acrobatic sideline catches.

However, he's a flaky guy, a huge diva who's earned a bad reputation. He needs to grow up and stop trying to be so Hollywood. He hangs out with a huge entourage of questionable characters.

At heart, I'm told he's a very nice guy who makes bad choices and lacks common sense. He does a ton of nice things for kids and spends a lot of money on charity.

While he's not a one-man crime wave like Kenny Britt, he has the potential to go in the wrong direction. I don't think he'll be disruptive necessarily in the locker room, but he could be a bad influence on younger guys like Michael Crabtree, potentially.

That said, he has the skills to put up big numbers and can make a suspect quarterback look very good with his ability to stretch the field and elevate over smaller cornerbacks. He's a pretty physically strong, tough guy as far as being able to block or break tackles when he feels like it.

Basically, Braylon isn't the most consistent person or football player. However, he's talented enough that this makes sense for the 49ers.

I think he can showcase himself out there and then move on. It's very possible that Braylon may like the Bay Area and could be a fit. He reminds me of an NBA type of personality more than an NFL guy, but that's not a compliment."

Craig Massei's take: A smooth-talking Edwards made a solid first impression with the 49ers on Thursday night, looking at ease and comfortable in his new surroundings during a news conference just hours after signing a one-year deal with the team. Edwards said all the right things about being "here to make plays, here to be the guy," while at the same time fitting in with his new teammates and "be a part of helping this team out." Edwards also said the right things regarding his several run-ins with the law in recent years, saying he indeed knows right from wrong and, "that's what I want to get back to, being the guy that can be accountable, that can be respected and be put in position to thrive here and to be a responsible guy for this organization." It all sounded good, but with Edwards, you get the impression it will be easier said than done. As referenced to by Aaron Wilson, Edwards has the potential to go in the wrong direction, and individuals such as that don't always change even when given a fresh start. San Francisco has a young and impressionable corps of wide receivers, and the last thing the 49ers need is a guy like Edwards making waves or causing problems with a team that still is finding its way on an uncharted course with a new coaching staff. The negative vibe here comes from seeing other veteran receivers – beginning with Terrell Owens at the end of his Niners tenure – join the team as free agents and become disruptive forces and/or bad influences on others. But if Edwards can buy into the team concept and realize the 49ers have other young wideouts they are trying to mold and develop, he could be an extremely positive addition to the team. A big plus in helping to keep Edwards from going bad in San Francisco is his family's long relationship with coach Jim Harbaugh, which probably had a lot to do with this marriage of team and player in the first place. Edwards won't want to disappoint Harbaugh – who played football with Edwards' father, with whom Harbaugh remains friends – perhaps more than any other coach he has played for, and the Harbaugh system figures to put a talent such as Edwards into positions where he can thrive. Edwards is the big, bruising and talented playmaker the 49ers haven't had at wide receiver since Owens bolted the scene after the 2003 season, so there is no question here that he has the potential to put up nice numbers and help transform the San Francisco offense. If he works hard to earn a starting position instead of considering it his birthright, and can push the team's young wideouts to get better while also producing on the field, while at the same time taking advantage of his own opportunities while staying out of trouble off the field, then Edwards will be everything the 49ers want and need out of him and will be every bit worth the $3.5 million they are paying him this season, even if he's just a one-year rental. But that's a lot to ask from anyone, particularly anyone with a track record like Edwards.'


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